Florio: Packers 'Know' Aaron Rodgers; QB 'Does Not Want the Fans to Hate Him'May 9, 2021
The Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers remain in a showdown, with the quarterback reportedly wanting to be traded and the team entrenched in the position that it won't move him.
As Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio told Rich Eisen, Rodgers' desire to not become a villain in the eyes of Packers fans could be weaponized by the team in its quest to keep him (0:50 mark):
"I think what they're banking on is Rodgers' intense desire to not be hated by Packers fans. I think that's why they're taking a hard line, and that's why they're confident he's going to find a way to save face and show up. ... Because if he doesn't show up, he automatically becomes Brett Favre when [the fans] hated Brett Favre. And [the fans] are already starting to waver a little on Aaron Rodgers, based on what's happened the last eight days, and I think the Packers read of Rodgers—and they know him better than anyone after 16 years—he does not want the fans to hate him. He is very sensitive. ... He doesn't want the fans to hate him, and I think the Packers are going to use that against him."
The situation doesn't seem likely to be resolved any time soon.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday's SportsCenter that Rodgers and the Packers "are still actively looking for solutions here; they're trying to keep an open line of communication with Aaron Rodgers and his agent, Dave Dunn. So, no traction in the short term. But many people around the league believe Aaron Rodgers is indeed 'dug in,' and there's a belief by some that he wants to be out West."
Fowler added that the Denver Broncos were a team "buzzing in league circles" and that the Broncos were monitoring the situation between Rodgers and the Packers. The Broncos didn't address the quarterback position at the draft, though they do have Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater on the roster.
Granted, Rodgers would be an enormous upgrade over both players on a Broncos roster that is loaded with young talent outside of the quarterback position. The Broncos may not make the sort of leap the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made when they signed Tom Brady last offseason and won a Super Bowl, but they would be expected to receive a serious bump with Rodgers at the helm.
But that is contingent on the Packers even considering trade offers for Rodgers, which general manager Brian Gutekunst has publicly said won't happen.
"Obviously he's our quarterback, he's our leader," he told reporters at the NFL draft. "We've been working through this for a little while now. And I just think it may take some time. But he's the guy who makes this thing go. He gives us the best chance to win. ... I do think he'll play for us again."
As for Rodgers, his options are either continuing to leak publicly that he wants to leave, hoping it inspires a move; a long holdout, potentially into the season; or simply retiring. Any of those options, however, would likely end any goodwill with the team's fanbase. The Packers are apparently hoping he isn't willing to burn that bridge.